Starting therapy before, during, or after a crisis is the right time to go. The same approach and therapist don’t work for everyone, but therapy can work for anyone.
You may feel overwhelmed when faced with a decision about a committed relationship, like the one you could have with a therapist. Building trust between two people takes bravery, especially for people who are seeking connection with a professional.
Asking for help is an act of vulnerability and can result in a rewarding experience. There is no shame in getting help for problems that are impacting your life, no matter the size or type.
Because therapy is a vital part of mental health, below are 5 tips on what to look for in a therapist and your therapy experience.
1. You feel comfortable.
Yes, you may feel some anxiety initially. However, you should ultimately feel comfortable around your therapist. You may not open up about all of your problems right away, but comfort is necessary even with easing into the process.
Be honest about what you are seeking in the relationship and what you would like to work on with the therapist. This could take more than one session to identify your comfort level. Usually, it takes about 3 sessions to really know if a therapist is a match for you but leave room for a no or yes to happen quickly. You are practicing boundaries, which is an important tool for all of your relationships.
The more comfortable you feel with your therapist initially, the more uncomfortable you can get with them during the process of your personal work. Trust is key, so make sure you feel safe in the space you share with one another.
2. Your beliefs align.
Looking for a therapist is not the time to challenge how you identify as a person. You will need a therapist who wants to work toward similar outcomes together. If you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, find a therapist who has skills within your circle. If you need help with a relationship, ensure that your therapist has that expertise. If you are trying to understand your anxiety and depression, check if your therapist has mentioned that in their experience or bio.
Often, friends and family are a great resource in therapist referrals because of common interests. Ask people you respect within your friendships if they see a therapist.
Chances are the people who are doing the work to improve themselves are some of the most admirable people you associate with already.
More people go to therapy than you may realize and talking about it can help deepen relationships that already exist for you. Show up for yourself by asking your friends and family which therapists they have worked with. This is a step to aligning beliefs with your future therapist.
3. You can afford the therapist.
You and your therapist may have a long or short-term relationship, depending on your situation. To give yourself the grace of taking as much time as you need, find a therapist you can afford.
There are many options available. College students can often go to a couple of sessions for free through mental health services at their school. Sliding scales are available with many therapists through Open Path Collective. If you have insurance, look for mental health support through your network provider and be sure to ask your insurance provider about your deductible and costs for behavioral health. If your deductible is high, it may not be as helpful financially as you anticipate.
Even though cost can be a factor, don’t let it be a deterrent to getting mental support. You are worth it, and many therapists will work with your situation.
That being said, you don’t have to work with someone who is the right price but has nothing else to offer. This is not a time to skimp on what matters most to you.
Affordability is a factor in what to look for with a therapist so that resentments about costs don’t build during sessions.
You are choosing to get help. Be proud of that and ask questions right away about payment with your potential therapist. They have the right to charge what they feel is fair, and you have the right to pay what you think is fair.
Therapy has great value, and the right therapist can be invaluable to your life.
4. You feel hopeful.
Not every session with your therapist will give you warm fuzzies. There are tough sessions, and there is hard work to be done on yourself. However, feeling a sense of hope with your therapist is a sign that you may be on the right track with your therapy experience.
If your therapist is giving you tools that you can use when they are not around, this indicates they are a person who is helpful so that you can be hopeful.
Feeling hopeful means that you are being honest with your therapist about what is bothering you. You are facing fears so that you can collaborate on how to solve problems together.
Honesty is important with your therapist. You are paying them to help you, so let your therapist do that. It doesn’t work as well when you are lying to make yourself look better. No matter what, hope means you are getting help that is working for you.
5. You feel excited when you get to see your therapist.
Another indicator that your therapy experience is going well is if you anticipate seeing your therapist during your scheduled visit. When you want to solve problems with your therapist, this means that you trust them. You value the collaboration they provide, and you are willing to understand more about yourself.
Therapists shouldn’t be giving advice, but it’s important to be able to talk about ideas and feelings openly with them. Learning about yourself is part of the process. Enlightening sessions with your therapist can change behavior for a lifetime.
Sometimes, a session provides the space to be witnessed in your feelings. It is a chance to feel seen and heard by someone who is objective and won’t only tell you what you want to hear.
Usually, an effective therapist balances tough love and warm affection to help you see yourself better. If you feel angry toward your therapist, this can be a sign that therapy is going well. They have helped you uncover something new about yourself that you may not have known before, and you trust them enough to know they may be right.
We don’t always want to see everything about ourselves so revealing truths takes time. If you get a nagging negative feeling about your therapist, this can mean trouble. However, expressing emotion with your therapist while you work with what comes up for you is a healthy sign of progress with the experience.
Take the next steps:
Looking for a therapist and sticking with a therapy experience is an emotionally mature way to handle life. Even if you only need therapy for a short time, it can be beneficial to allow yourself to get help from a professional. If you need therapy for a long time, there is no shame in acknowledging that you have gone through trauma or a traumatic experience and need help.
Therapists are trained professionals and want to help clients become healthy, happy people on the planet. Allow yourself to be the best version of you; There is a therapist in your realm ready to help you do that.
We can help in your search.
At Denver Metro Counseling, our clinicians have advanced training in treating ADHD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma, disordered eating, grief, stress, life transitions, low self esteem, and provide support through suicide risk.
We are connected with therapists throughout Colorado and other parts of the country and if we are not the right fit, we will provide you with some referrals or direction to help you in your journey to finding the right fit for you.
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support for teens, adults, parents, and families. We help people build positive relationships with themselves and others.
Click on the links below for more information:
Young Adult Counseling
Support for Therapists
Help For Depression
Substance Use and Recovery Support
Trauma Therapy and EMDR